Knock, knock. Trick or treat. It’s the son you thought was dead.
The Halloween scares came early for a couple in Anchorage when they ran into their son two hours after Alaska State Troopers had notified them that he'd been killed.
Karen And Jay Priest knew things weren't right when police officers woke them up in the middle of the night on Thursday (October 9).
"He knew right away, the dread. It's not good when a trooper knocks on your door at three o'clock in the morning," Karen told the Associated Press.
The officers informed them that one of their sons, Justin Priest, had died in a car crash. The grieving couple drove into town to inform their other son, Cody, of the tragic news.
The family’s next stop was at the home of Justin’s girlfriend, Julia. Karen described the scene when she opened the door:
"It opens and right here is Justin. I don't even see it but Jay is sobbing. It doesn't compute to me. Then I see him. You want it to be true, but you go, 'Am I hallucinating?' Justin didn't know what was going on."
After "lots of hugging, lots of tears," Justin called the police to inform them of their mistake, prompting the department to formally apologize for the misplaced anguish.
"I'm almost speechless for words," Chief Bryce Johnson told the AP. "This shouldn't happen."
Apparently, the department had asked the troopers to call the Priests in order to determine if the victim of the automobile accident had, in fact, been their son. Somewhere in the chain of command, that order was mistakenly assumed to be for a death notification.